Adelaide, Jan 22: Puting an end to what seemed like a never ending speculation spree, the Indian vice-captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni today dismissed any notion of disquiet in the dressing room over the furore which has followed the team in the wake of Sourav Ganguly`s omission from the one-day squad. He tried to prove that the team is a professional setup that can keep the game above anything else.
"I think it has affected journalists more than it has us. We are back in the practice session, we trained in the morning, it has not affected us anyway," said a defiant Dhoni on whether the team`s preparation for the crucial fourth and final Test had been disrupted by the supposed disharmony after the Ganguly ouster.
Dhoni did not want to field any question on Ganguly as he said the Adelaide Test was the team`s priority and the one-dayers could wait. He gave enough indications on the kind of leader he wants to be, as well as the batsman and wicketkeeper he was hoping to be in his yet fledgling career of 25 Tests.
"What Anil (Kumble) has stressed is that there should be a lot of communication between us. If somebody hasn`t been picked for the side you have to go there and convey it to him," he said.
Dhoni said there should not be any communication gap between the player and the captain.
"As a captain, I believe and go by instinct. It isn`t as if I don`t plan, I make it very clear to the bowlers because it`s ultimately they who would bowl according to the field."
Dhoni, as a flamboyant batsman, appears to be rearranging his game and is more intent to stick around and spend time at the crease.
"Generally, they have tended to bowl quite outside the off-stump to me. Only Stuart Clark who looks to bowl an off-stump line, otherwise the rest want you to chase the ball, if it`s not moving a great deal.”
"When you get in, you don`t want to chase the ball outside the off-stump. That`s what I followed in England in other Tests also."
As a wicketkeeper though, the Ranchi lad really appears to have come of age.
"There hasn`t been any change in the way I keep. Only, here in Australia, you get more time to react to the nick. In India if a Zaheer Khan is bowling at 140kmph, you are still standing only 12 yards away from the stumps.”
"As for keeping to the spinners, Anil bhai most of the time makes the batsmen play. You are behind to gather the one ball which would make the difference."
With so much of expectations about him, Dhoni knows what he needs to do to keep his feet on the ground.
"It`s not about the people`s expectations, it`s about the players` expectations. It`s not the people who play the game. It`s the players who face Brett Lee or Shaun Tait.
"There is enough pressure just by playing for India and so it`s very important that you enjoy the game."
Looking at how the Indian team has performed in this series, Dhoni had a lot of good things to say about his team`s performance.
"They (the Indian medium-fast bowlers) are swinging the ball. Australians play fast bowlers well, the only area you can really trouble them is swing bowling. Our bowlers have bowled consistently and encouraged the batsmen to go for the drive," Dhoni said.
"Getting the breakthrough is important and we are getting it. It`s a moral victory, coming to Australia and not letting them beat us comfortably," he said.
Dhoni said the team was high on morale and enjoying its game.
"We have been playing tough cricket for the last one month, it`s good for the team`s morale and everyone who has been part of the side.”
"It`s not about the people`s expectations, it`s about the players` expectations. It`s not the people who play the game. Ultimately, it`s the players who face Brett Lee or Shaun Tait."